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Peas in a Pod


Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) was an Austrian monk famous for his seminal work in genetics. He uncovered a series of


Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) was an Austrian monk famous for his seminal work in genetics. He uncovered a series of laws that govern how genes are transmitted. Mendel made these discoveries with the assistance of the common garden pea.


He repeatedly crossed varieties of pea plants in an effort to observe how specific genetic traits, e.g., height, color, seed shape, etc., were imparted to ensuing generations. Out of these observations arose the laws that became the basis of modern hereditary theory.

Peas are legumes, i.e., plants with seed pods. Originating in Asia they have been part of man's diet for thousands of years. The most common pea is the garden pea, also known as the English pea.

They must be removed from their pods before consumption. Snow peas and sugar snap peas however, are eaten pod and all.

Ninety-five percent of all garden peas are sold canned or frozen. April, May and June are usually the only months that they are available fresh. Make every effort to find them.

If you've never had fresh peas, straight from the pod, you're in for a treat. They're sweet and delicious and I think taste best uncooked.

Raw fresh peas make a great addition to salads as well as being a nutritious, low-fat, snack. When fresh peas are not available go with the frozen but never the canned.

Canned peas taste dreadful and it boggles my mind that there are so many people willing to eat them.

Choose peas with firm, bright green pods free of blemishes or yellow hues. Use them as soon as possible and if not, refrigerate them immediately. The natural sugar in peas deteriorates quickly.


Do not shell or wash them until you are ready to use them. Trim the ends of snow pea pods and remove the string along the edge of sugar snap pea pods before use. Peas are a good source of potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B, and C.

Peas cook quickly and overcooking will result in loss of flavor. Garden peas are best in some butter with salt and pepper. They work well in rice pilafs, pasta dishes, soups and stews.

Add them toward the end of cooking. Snow peas work best in stir fries and Asian dishes. Sugar snap peas are great raw but can also be in butter.

One of my favorite things to do with garden peas is to make a pea. Think of mashed potatoes only with peas instead.


Pea can serve as a garnish, a side dish, or as a spread on crackers or vegetable sticks. Use it as a bed upon which the main item in your can rest. For example, some scallops and place them on a pool of the pea .


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